Category Archives: Guilt

Are Little White Lies Okay?

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Like most other kids, you and I were taught in childhood not to lie. The lesson usually came early in life when by the age of six we knew the difference between right and wrong; and what was true and what wasn’t. The first time we made up a story to avoid wrath, we may have discovered that the penalty for our inventive tale was worse than if we had truthfully admitted our error.

IMG_0862Dishonesty, basically, is avoiding truth. It’s not surprising that people whose lives have been influenced by a damaging past really struggle with honesty—they’re afraid to be honest. It isn’t a type of dishonesty that is pathological and conniving. Rather its motive comes from a sincere desire to avoid conflict, disapproval, disappointment, and rejection; and to make others happy. They might see their dishonesty as being harmless or as merely “little white lies.”

Truth though, is a necessary choice in life, if we want self-respect, self-esteem and a reputation for possessing integrity. When asked, for example, if we like someone’s haircut, outfit, spinach casserole recipe, car color, or wallpaper, there’s always something truthful that can be said, instead of a little white lie. “Oh, that looks good on you,” “I can totally see you in that color,” and so on. We can be truthful without being mean spirited and without hurting someone’s feelings.

Psychologist, Dr. Chris Thurman writes: There is another important reason why IMG_1595we must seek the truth and live by it. There is a direct, inescapable connection between our self-esteem and whether or not we are dedicated to truth. If dedication to truth characterizes our way of living, we develop stable positive feelings of worth. The moment we wrap our lives around lies, genuine feelings of self-worth are virtually impossible. We’ve all had moments in our lives when we suddenly saw that something we believed to be true was false. Instantly, the truth cuts like a knife.  http://www.drchristhurman.com/

A pattern of telling little white lies can easily get out of control with a drive to appear adequate and flawless. We may find ourselves deceiving others about our opinions, actions and accomplishments. In a need to be loved and accepted, we justify fibbing.

IMG_2761 (1)Yet, isn’t it true that if someone is dishonest with us, we get all bent out of shape? In a warped way of thinking, we can be merciless to other individuals that we’ve caught lying. We park in the denial of our own dishonesty and feel betrayed, used, made a fool of, or taken advantage of by others we catch being dishonest with us: How could they do that to me! We, however, tend to not see our own dishonesty when we do that to them.

Think about it.

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
IMG_2731Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Has your inner voice become a nagging critical bullhorn?

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Long time writer for The New Yorker, S. N. Behrman¹ said on reaching the age of 75, I have had just about all I can take of myself. 

Has your inner voice become a nagging critical bullhorn? If your inner monitor has you feeling like a louse because of some wrong doing, then it’s time to investigate if those feelings of guilt are true or false.

IMG_2286True guilt is that icky gnawing feeling of remorse and regret when you have failed your moral standard. But after amends are made and you forgive yourself, you’re free to do better next time; and those icky internal feelings dissipate. False guilt is that same icky gnawing feeling that flogs you day after day when you decline to make amends and refuse to forgive yourself. Instead, you feel compelled to punish yourself and rolling in guilt is the most popular choice.

Believing the truth about who you are is necessary for a happy and successfulIMG_1720 life. If you’re dragging around the weight of guilt, regrets, and self-condemnation, it’s impossible to be happy and successful. Guilt won’t allow the belief that you deserve happiness and financial gain. Regrets won’t allow self-confidence and self-esteem. Your opinion of yourself is powerful fuel for life. The words you say to yourself, about yourself, have an enormous impact in the body, and in your mind.

As long as you hold yourself hostage for past mistakes, you’re chained to the pain of yesterday. You hold the key to those chains today, right now. Pardon yourself. Make amends if you’re able. Realize that staying in bondage to the past won’t allow you to make a difference in your life today, and that’s just another mistake.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

¹http://snbehrman.com/biography.htm
©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you curse yourself for screwing-up?

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The highly successful Brian Tracy wrote, “Always choose the future over the past. What do we do now?” That’s good advise, I think, when it comes to solving problems. But it does little to release those of us tortured by past regrets and mistakes.
Some of my bad choices from many years ago caused painful and damaging IMG_0578(2)consequences for other people. Those are the regrets that can haunt me the most. Those memories sting and I placed myself in an emotional jail where I inflicted suffering upon myself as punishment for hurting people I care about. My thoughts would persistently remind me that I was unworthy, marred, screwed-up, or whatever the word of the day was.
It took time for me to heal with soul-searching therapy. I understand how other people live fully in the past and why they speak about regrets and degrade themselves for mistakes from years ago. I get why their current happiness isn’t possible because of this or that occurred last month or last year.
I’m here to tell you, from experience, that as long as you cling to the mistakes of yesterday, you make another mistake today. When you’re busy mentally IMG_0885torturing yourself, you’re unable to focus to learn from, and understand the mistake so you can become wiser, so you can grow, so you can help others through their pain. Making a mistake is not a crime. Passing judgment on yourself along with a sentence to an emotional punishing prison for penance, doesn’t work. There’s nothing you can do to alter your actions of yesterday, but you can choose differently right now. No amount of self-punishment will alter what happened. But you can make amends where possible. You can remember that you’re not perfect. Mistakes happen.
“People screw up. People screw up a lot. We allow our own selfishness to overpower us at times. It happens. But you can’t allow that to tear you down. You can’t keep dwelling on your past choices, and your past actions, or else you’ll never learn from them.”¹
Give your past regrets meaning today, not punishment, by seeing them as turning points in your life, not condemning moments.
Thanks for your time and comments. –Dr. Sandy
¹Nicole Sobon, Deprogrammed

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net